Ethics in Clinical Trials

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Ethics In Clinical Trials
By Louise Murchison

The Hippocratic Oath: The earliest known code of medical ethics (5th century BC)
which is attributed to Hippocrates, the ‘father of medicine’. The oath is summarized by the principle ‘do no harm’.

The “Nuremberg Code”: Published in 1949, part of the official US report on the trials
of Nazi Doctors (Doctor’s trial) following the human experimentation during World War II. This became the first international code of ethics in clinical trials involving patients.

The “Declaration of Helsinki”: The globally recognized document that describes the
standards for research involving humans. It was established in 1964, and has been revised five times since the year 2000. It provides a comprehensive international statement on ethics.

The “Belmont Report”: In 1932, the US Public Health Service carried out an
experiment to study the natural progression of untreated late-stage syphilis in poor, African-American men in the town of Tuskegee, Alabama. Participants were misinformed regarding the reasons for conducting the study and appropriate medical care was withheld with the sole interest of understanding natural disease progression. The “Belmont Report”, drawn up in 1979, defines three important ethical human rights; respect, beneficence and justice.

Remember the Five Principles of Ethical Research?
• • • • • Respect Beneficence Justice Consent Compassion

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